421 recurrent training other than SimCom

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  • #84182

    I have been to 421 training at FSI 7 times and went to SimCom last year (Dallas using FSI’s old sim).

    I am looking for a change of pace and a little variety. I have been to RTC once and thought the training and the sim were both poor. So I understand the risks of straying off the FSI / SimCom reservation.

    Anyone have comments on Nashua Flight, Glass Simulator Center, others?

    My plane has a G600 and KFC225 autopilot – and I can’t find that combo in a sim anywhere. So even the dedicated 421 sims don’t provide much value to me for avionics. Though avionics training is not the primary purpose of my sim training.

    #98633

    I don’t have a rec for a place, but I suggest doing your recurrent training in your plane this time. Maybe in combination with some sim time for engine fails on departure, etc.

    #99208

    Last week I attended Cessna 421C recurrent training at Nashua Flight Simulator in New Hampshire. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned.

    Let me start with the negatives. The facility is in a cramped section of a hangar with classrooms barely large enough for three people and a desk. The systems training manual is essentially a copy of FSI’s manual. The computer slides used for ground school do not have the sophistication or animation of SimCom’s.

    The flight simulator is made by Elite. The sim has a capable autopilot and a Garmin 530 (non-WAAS). The flying qualities are good and the sim reasonably mimics the performance and handling of a piston twin. The sim is modeled on a Baron, but the cockpit layout is not an exact match in terms of the switches and circuit breakers. And the sim layout is obviously very different from a Cessna 421. This makes it a poor platform for practicing systems failures: alternator failure, landing gear problems, etc. The sim has a generic power quadrant without the feathering gate on the prop controls typical of twin Cessnas. Since I have stumbled with the feathering gate in other sims, and have watched others do the same, the omission of a feathering gate risks the transfer of a wrong motion to the real airplane. When faced with a real engine failure, the pilot might not have the gate-bypass motion ingrained, and might thus be delayed in feathering the engine.

    Now for the positives. My instructor was Bob McCulla. He is a retired US Airways pilot and he owns a Cessna 310. He is a professional pilot to his core: steeped in discipline, procedures, aerodynamics, and risk management. From my many visits to FSI, I have found that transport pilots, especially those in a simulator school, sometimes try to transfer too much transport category rigidity to piston twins, e.g. engine failures at Vr must always be handled the same way. Mr. McCulla is not in that mold. Mr. McCulla imports as much transport discipline and consistency as he can, while recognizing the real-world limitations of Part 23 twins. He was a phenomenal instructor for fine tuning ILS approaches (emphasizing the VSI), for maintaining precise directional control, and for properly managing energy. His regimen for improving directional control was for him to jockey the left and right throttles while the student corrected with rudder. This was practiced on the runway and inflight. It was a great exercise.

    Mr. McCulla also has a knack for injecting realistic scenarios in the sim training. In one instance, I was cleared to enter a hold at the FAF with an EFC of 15 minutes. I had briefed the approach, but was relatively relaxed expecting that I would have plenty of time for further study while I was holding. Thirty seconds after I had crossed the holding fix and was midway through the outbound leg, Mr. McCulla cleared me for the approach. It was a good lesson in being prepared early, and a good reminder that much of our pressure is self-imposed. Although ATC would have been fine with my taking another turn in the hold, pilots feel an obligation to accept the “favors” they are offered.

    My training experience at Nashua Flight was valuable. I enjoyed having an emphasis on areas where SimCom/FSI are weak – it broadened my training experience. Nashua Flight is an excellent alternative for pilots who are looking for a different experience to throw into their training rotation. I would be hesitant to recommend Nashua for initial training – a facility with a dedicated 421 sim is a much better option for that and for the first two recurrents. When a pilot is reasonably comfortable with the switches and systems in the 421, Nashua would be a great place to go. It would also be valuable for mid-year brushups.

    #99209

    Thanks for starting this thread.. I have not purchased my 414 yet but have had all kinds of questions in my head around where the best place to go for Initial. I was of the thinking that I should dish out the extra money to go where there is a Full Motion sim. I’ve been told other ideas but I almost feel adding full motion might help drive home more the the realism of the initial training.. Interested in other opinions as well.

    #99211
    quote khouseholder1:

    Thanks for starting this thread.. I have not purchased my 414 yet but have had all kinds of questions in my head around where the best place to go for Initial. I was of the thinking that I should dish out the extra money to go where there is a Full Motion sim. I’ve been told other ideas but I almost feel adding full motion might help drive home more the the realism of the initial training.. Interested in other opinions as well.

    Skip the full motion. The 400 series full motion sims are pretty weak in my opinion.

    The fixed based FTD at Simcom in Dallas (and I suspect in Scotsdale as well) is actually quite good. For an initial course I’d be more concerned with the switch positions and systems than having the box yaw all around.

    The benefit of the SimCom simulators are that they are actually a 421 cockpit (same as a 414 basically) and all of the switches are in their real positions.

    Robert

    #99212
    quote khouseholder1:

    Thanks for starting this thread.. I have not purchased my 414 yet but have had all kinds of questions in my head around where the best place to go for Initial. I was of the thinking that I should dish out the extra money to go where there is a Full Motion sim. I’ve been told other ideas but I almost feel adding full motion might help drive home more the the realism of the initial training.. Interested in other opinions as well.

    Your insurance company may dictate the facility for initial.

    #99223

    Thanks for the reply’s. My insurance company is good with either FS or SC. Knowing that the extra money for full motion may not be worth it, it will help me for my budget for sure.

    #99226

    Flight Safety is no longer in the Twin Cessna game, so SimCom it is. I agree with Robert. Just go do one of the non-motion FTD’s.

    #99253

    Kelly
    There are several threads discussing initial training. If your are new to twin Cessnas, I’m a big believer in doing your initial in your plane. In the beginning, so much about flying your twin Cessna can only be learned in the plane. I’m not against doing sim training in addition to training in the plane.

    #99256

    I recently had my recurrent training at Nashua Flight Simulator as well. I own a 340A RAM VI. I found the owner Steve Cunningham and the instructor Bob Macula really knowledgeable, friendly and easy to get along with. I agree with the previous comment on Nashua Flight Simulator. For what they lack in pizzazz they make up in experience and real knowledge about flying these sophisticated machines. Bob’s knowledge of Twin Cessnas and their flight characteristics is impressive. Bob trains you like the airlines. I believe I am a better pilot as result of my last training. I highly recommend Nashua Flight Simulator, which by the way has the best value as well.

    #99275

    I just completed initial 414 training at Simcom. The FTD was out of commission, so I trained in the full motion sim for the first 2 days. They got the FTD repaired on day 3, so we switched to it. The control response in the FTD was horrible and there is no yaw to indicate the onset of an engine failure. The view out of the FTD was much better and made it easier to spot the airport on visual approaches. The main difference in the 421 and the 414 are the geared engines. It only took a few minutes of flight time to get used to that. Overall I had a positive experience and it made the insurance company happy. Either way, there is no substitute for the real airplane.

    #99276
    quote RLUSTER:

    I just completed initial 414 training at Simcom. The FTD was out of commission, so I trained in the full motion sim for the first 2 days. They got the FTD repaired on day 3, so we switched to it. The control response in the FTD was horrible and there is no yaw to indicate the onset of an engine failure. The view out of the FTD was much better and made it easier to spot the airport on visual approaches. The main difference in the 421 and the 414 are the geared engines. It only took a few minutes of flight time to get used to that. Overall I had a positive experience and it made the insurance company happy. Either way, there is no substitute for the real airplane.

    Which SimCom did you use?

    Robert

    #99278

    DFW

    #99673

    This is an interesting thread – very informative.

    I offer insurance approved initial and recurrent training for all the twin Cessnas – 340/414/421 – all models. We offer optional sim training in a PFC motion sim and also training in your airplane. A typical recurrent is 4 hours of ground school on systems, airspeeds, emergency procedures, radar, and a bit of weather, using PowerPoint. (Sorry, no animation but I wave my arms a lot.)

    Then we either jump in the sim or the airplane and fly the syllabus. If you choose the sim. then we will do 2-4 hours there and 3-4 hours in the airplane. It’s essentially a two day course. You should leave with a flight review, Instrument currency, and a nice certificate you can send to your insurance agent.

    Some of my clients think our PFC sim is better than Simcom and Flgith Safety. You will have to be the judge.

    I do recommend that you shut down your engines, even in a 421. Some pilots simply will not do that so we do int the sim but it’s really not the same. Shutting down you engines, done properly, is not going to ruin them or shorten their life. It does prove the engine will feather (some will not) and gives you the experience of flying with one not running – there is nothing like it if you have never done it.

    I am based in Houston – come on down this winter and get thawed out.

    #100211
    quote RCJOHNSON:

    quote RLUSTER:

    I just completed initial 414 training at Simcom. The FTD was out of commission, so I trained in the full motion sim for the first 2 days. They got the FTD repaired on day 3, so we switched to it. The control response in the FTD was horrible and there is no yaw to indicate the onset of an engine failure. The view out of the FTD was much better and made it easier to spot the airport on visual approaches. The main difference in the 421 and the 414 are the geared engines. It only took a few minutes of flight time to get used to that. Overall I had a positive experience and it made the insurance company happy. Either way, there is no substitute for the real airplane.

    Which SimCom did you use?

    Robert

    Robert – would you then suggest full motion? I’ve been back and forth and booked the non-motion sim after this thread.. However your comment seems like maybe a better option is the full-motion?

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